Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Mary Wallace

Ceist:

161 Ms M. Wallace asked the Minister for Education and Science the position regarding the proposed new 16 classroom primary school for Ratoath including planing permission, bill of quantities and tender documentation; when the project will be ready to go to tender; the timeframe between tender stage and commencing construction; and if he will make a statement on progress regarding this important project. [19355/03]

The proposed large-scale building project for Ratoath national school is listed in section 6 of the 2003 school building programme, which I published on my Department's website at www.education.ie This project is at an advanced stage of architectural planning and has been assigned a band 1 rating by my Department, in accordance with the published criteria for prioritising large-scale projects.

Projects listed in sections 6 and 7 (primary) are not being authorised to progress beyond their current stage of architectural planning for the time being. The timing of when projects listed in these sections can progress to tender and construction will depend on the budgetary allocation for 2004 and subsequent years and the priority afforded to each project by reference to the band rating.

Mary Wallace

Ceist:

162 Ms M. Wallace asked the Minister for Education and Science if the planning department of his primary school building unit can carry out an immediate investigation into the urgency of planning for the building of a second primary school in Laytown-Bettystown in view of the dramatic increase in house building which has led the existing school to refuse enrolment of pupils for September 2003 beyond the cap of 457; if his planning department's attention has been drawn to the fact that the existing school which was adequate to cater for 700 homes is now faced with coping with the 800 additional homes that were occupied between 1993 and 2003, the projected 600 already planned and the further development in the planning process; his views on the fact that the school is simply unable to cope with these numbers and that an urgent solution needs to be provided by utilising the community-zoned land in the immediate area of the existing school for accommodation in the immediate future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19356/03]

The primary school needs of the Laytown-Bettystown area are currently being examined in the school planning section of my Department in view of the extent of housing developments taking place in the area. When all the relevant data have been assembled and fully assessed, a decision will be made on how best to provide for the emerging needs of that area. I am satisfied there is sufficient suitable school accommodation available to cater for the immediate needs of the area concerned.